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March 25, 1999


SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan and key parties interested in the future of large-scale livestock operations reached agreement today on legislation that sets standards and regulations for these facilities, helps protect the environment and helps advance the state's agricultural economy.

For the past few weeks, various groups interested in large-scale livestock operations have met with key House and Senate legislators and Ryan's staff to develop a framework for a compromise bill. The legislation, contained in Senate Bill 1199, is expected to be considered by the Senate today. State Sen. John Maitland, R-Bloomington, is the Senate sponsor.

"I believe we have an agreement that everyone concerned with our environment can live with -- and an agreement that everyone concerned with the future of the state's agricultural economy can live with," Ryan said. "That's not to say that this legislation is perfect. No compromise is ever perfect.

"What we tried to do in these discussions is get away from rhetoric and focus on real solutions to the concerns before us. This bill strikes a proper balance and addresses concerns on all sides of the issue."

The agreement in Senate Bill 1199 follows the criteria for a large-scale livestock bill that Ryan outlined during his campaign for governor:

  • Construction also cannot begin until the Department of Agriculture has certified that the owners and operators' plans have met eight citing requirements.

    The designs and plans for these facilities must meet all necessary registrations and permits; cannot endanger the surrounding environment; cannot be incompatible with the surrounding area; must have stricter controls if the site is within an environmentally sensitive area; must minimize the likelihood of spills and run-offs; must have an acceptable odor control plan; must have a minimal effect on existing local traffic; and must be consistent with other local projects involving community growth, tourism, recreation or economic development.

  • Construction of any facility cannot begin until after a public meeting has been held and the county board has made a non-binding recommendation about the proposed construction to the Department of Agriculture.

  • The residents of a county or the county board can order a public hearing on the proposed operation.

  • Regulation of these facilities will be divided between the Department of Agriculture and the Pollution Control Board. The PCB will establish the final rules on construction standards. Agriculture will establish the final rules for everything else.

  • The legislation contains language governing equal setback distances for livestock operations from both farm and non-farm residences and closure requirements for all livestock facilities.

  • The legislation addresses common ownership, fines for failing to report livestock waste spills and releases; and closes an existing loophole that brings the regulation of non-lagoon facilities under the act.

    "This bill is our best effort to keep our agricultural economy moving forward while making sure that these large operations do not endanger the environment or harm the quality of life in rural Illinois," Ryan said.

    Ryan praised the work of several legislators and the representatives of organizations concerned with the issue.

    From the General Assembly Ryan thanked Maitland; Sen. George Shadid, D-Edwards; Rep. Michael K. Smith, D-Canton; and state Rep. Donald L. Moffitt, R-Gilson.

    From the organizations: Lynne Padovan of the Illinois Environmental Council; Mark Gebhards of the Illinois Pork Producers Association; Dwight Dunbar of the Illinois Beef Association; Pam Hansen of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Chuck Spencer of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

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